How to recover abandoned carts and win back those sales

A picture showing a sales or revenue graph going up indicating the significance of increasing your sales by recovering abandoned carts. This blog shares ideas on how to do that.

In the e-commerce industry, cart abandonment is a fact of life. It’s a direct result of the way people shop online and is unlikely to go away anytime soon. The fact that your visitor has got that far though tells you they are ready and willing to spend their money with you. So even if the customer has abandoned their cart, all is not lost, provided you act to recover it afterwards.

Why you need a plan to recover abandoned carts

Having a strategy to recover abandoned carts has multiple benefits:

  • 10 – 15% of customers are likely to complete the order they abandoned – increasing your sales.

  • When you know why the cart was abandoned, you can fine-tune your processes to provide a better shopping experience, thereby converting more future visitors to paying customers.

  • Your customers will feel valued and appreciated, and very likely come back next time they are looking for a product or service like yours.

How to take action after cart abandonment

Remembering that e-commerce cart abandonment rates are generally around 69% – 75%, it’s unrealistic to think you can win them all back. That said, it’s still worth recovering as many abandoned carts as you can. Let’s look at what actions you can take to do that.

Email recovery

  • Personalise the mail with your visitor’s name, if at all possible.

  • Use a light, human touch in your copy to re-engage your visitor, rather than anything too heavy.

  • Maximise the chances that your email will be opened by making it clear in the subject line that the email is following up on an abandoned cart. It’s also far more likely that the recipient will click through to your site from that mail than from a promotional one.

  • Send multiple emails over time, for example:

    • Email 1:
      Simply remind them that they have items in their shopping cart.

    • Email 2:
      Offer a discount to incentivise them to complete the purchase – this is highly effective.

  • Send the first reminder less than 24 hours after they abandon their cart. Bear in mind though that it can take many visitors another 2 weeks to finally check out, hence the need for multiple reminders.

  • Include all the relevant information you can to help your visitor make a positive buying decision, including:

    • Images of the products in their cart

    • Shipping information

    • Payment options

    • Urgency messages to get them to act fast, for example, “limited stock available” or “discount only valid this week”

    • A call to action to return to the site by simply clicking on the button or link to get back to their cart

Capturing email addresses

By its very nature, an email campaign requires that you have the email address of your visitor. If they are an account holder, you should already have their address. If they are visiting as a guest on your site though, you need to gather their email address as early as possible in the process, before they start to think about opting out.

Bear in mind that long forms may drive them away immediately. Rather try to get your visitors to give you just a little of their contact information to start with. If you can do this even before they get to checkout, for example with a pop-up form that is triggered by specific actions, that’s first prize. Otherwise start the check-out process by requesting only the basics. You can always ask for more as they become more committed to the purchasing decision. Even if you only get their name, surname and email up front, you’re ahead of the game as you have the means to follow up.

Still, there’s a good chance that about 85% of visitors who abandon their shopping carts will remain anonymous, which is why you need a back-up strategy – ad retargeting/remarketing.

Ad retargeting

Ad retargeting is a way of tracking visitors to your site and then displaying your advertisements to them as they browse other sites on the web.

There are many benefits here, including:

  • It boosts awareness of your brand after the visitor has decided they want a particular product.

  • It links your brand with more established partner brands so you build credibility.

  • You can encourage a return visit to your site by offering an incentive related to the product they placed in their cart.

At 0.2%, remarketing click rates can be double the click rates of normal display ads (0.05% to 0.1%), as the customer is that much further along in the buying process. And conversion rates for remarketing traffic can be as much as 20%, compared with traditional traffic conversion rates of just 2%.

Implementing ad retargeting

To implement ad retargeting, you need to work with a remarketing service provider such as Google, Criteo or AdRoll. The service provider places a cookie on a user’s computer when they land on a specific page on your website, which could be a product page or the checkout page. When the user then goes to an affiliated partner website, that website accesses the cookie and displays the same product in an ad.

You can decide which criteria you wish to apply to suit your own need. For example, you may target a specific product category, or abandoned carts with a total over a certain amount. You can also specify what the ad content should display, such as using the same image for the product that was originally placed in the cart.

The bottom line…

Cart abandonment is part and parcel of the online shopping process. Accepting this, while also taking whatever actions you can to recover those abandoned carts, will ensure you keep your sales figures as high as possible. You can also use the process to improve the flow of your checkout and to show your customers you care, winning even more loyalty from them.

Contact us to discuss marketing automation options for your site.



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